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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

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    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)

    BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:

    (theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here to help you get the jobs done that you need to do around your house, so pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles; it’s May, it’s springtime; there’s lots of projects that we know that you want to tackle around your house getting ready for the summer. Maybe you want to build a deck. Maybe you want to upgrade that patio. Maybe you’re thinking about putting an addition on; all great questions. Pick up the phone and let us help. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: And speaking of summer, very soon your kids will be spending a lot more time outdoors or perhaps at a local park or playground and maybe even on the backyard swing set. But are all those surfaces safe? What kind of playground surface does your local park have? You really need to ask yourself these questions. So coming up, we’re going to tell you exactly what you should be looking for.

    LESLIE: And if after we tell you everything you’re looking for you’re thoroughly freaked out and don’t want to send your kids to the public park system, you might be thinking that you need a bigger backyard so that you can actually have a place in your own home for your kids to play. Well if you’re in the market to buy a new house we’ve got some tips for you to help you in your search for that super-giant yard and your dream house.

    TOM: And if you want to keep a little extra money in the bank and help pay for that dream home we’ve got a quick tip that will knock 50 bucks off your electric bill.

    LESLIE: Ah, and speaking of free things, we’re giving away a birdfeeder and plenty of birdseed to keep it full for a long, long while. It’s from the folks over at Scotts. It’s worth 175 bucks but it could be yours for free if we talk to you on the air this hour and draw your name from the Money Pit hardhat.

    TOM: So let’s get started. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Sue in Indiana is looking for some help with flooring. What’s going on at your Money Pit?

    SUE: I have carpet in my house right now and I have two large dogs and I want to take the carpet out and put something in that’s a little more dog-friendly but I’m not sure what is the best thing that holds up under the wear and tear of, say, two 70-pound dogs.

    TOM: Well, my two cents would be laminate flooring. Laminate flooring can not only stand up to 70-pound dogs but it stands up to children pretty well, as evidenced in my house.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) You know, kids with claws.

    TOM: Yeah, kids with claws.

    LESLIE: Would you go with a commercial-grade finish over a residential or do you think residential sort of stands up to it.

    TOM: I think residential will be fine here. The laminate floor is really pretty durable stuff and it’s very attractive. It can look like tile, it can look like hardwood and I think you’ll be very happy with it, Sue.

    SUE: Now the laminate, are you talking about the one that has the padding on the back or the one that you put the padding down first?

    TOM: That depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers have the underlayment attached to the laminate and some have it as a separate element.

    SUE: Is it better one way or another?

    TOM: I don’t think so. You know, essentially I would buy a brand-name product; you know, I would get a Pergo or an Armstrong or a Tarkett or something like that and I would look for the lock-together tiles – the lock-together so it doesn’t need any glue – and I would put it down. I think you’re going to find that it’s incredibly durable and you’ll be very happy and so will your pets.

    SUE: OK, great. Thanks.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Sue. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dave in Texas is dealing with a mystery stain in the shower. What can we do for you?

    DAVE: The shower stall – it’s a tile shower stall –

    TOM: OK.

    DAVE: – I’m getting a white – it looks like a chalky substance but you can’t just wipe it away. It’s almost like a thin layer of mortar …

    TOM: OK.

    DAVE: … that’s kind of gathering where the water sits longest.

    LESLIE: And it hasn’t been recently tiled or anything, correct?

    DAVE: Well, just last year when we built the house.

    TOM: But it’s something that seems to be appearing over time?

    DAVE: Yeah, it took probably three or four months to show up.

    TOM: It’s probably because your water is a bit hard and you’ve got some mineral deposits in there …

    DAVE: OK.

    TOM: … and the best way to get rid of that is either with white vinegar …

    LESLIE: I mean white vinegar really does the trick. It’s not going to be a permanent solution but it’s definitely – it makes that cloud, that fog, go away immediately and then you’ll see, over time, you know, it’ll reappear; you’ll just have to – it’ll be part of your cleaning routine.

    TOM: If you need something that’s a little tougher you could pick up some CLR – Calcium Lime Rust –

    DAVE: OK.

    TOM: – and that will move it as well.

    DAVE: OK. Well, I appreciate the help.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone; give us a call; ask us your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days, whenever that home improvement dilemma occurs or even that idea sparks you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, playgrounds should be a safe place for kids but the wrong surfaces can spell tragedy for tots. Find out how to check yours, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Ask your home improvement question on the air and you could win a Yankee Flipper squirrel-proof birdfeeder and a big bag of Scotts wild birdseed to keep it full for quite a while. It’s a prize worth 175 bucks. Going to go out to one caller to today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, well maybe you’re thinking about backyard safety with summer on the horizon. You can almost taste it; all of those barbecues and the fun pool parties and your kids running around in the backyard enjoying themselves and maybe with our fantastic prize we’re giving away this hour you’ll encourage some bird watching from the backyard and their backyard swing set. Well, what you want to do, if you do have a backyard swing set, you want to make sure that the fall surfaces that you’ve got around any play equipment, whether it’s in your backyard or even if it’s just at a local park or the schoolyard, are safe because playground surfaces, you know, they can really cause a lot of injury and surfaces that are made up of asphalt are a really dangerous thing of the past. And you might think grass is a better alternative but that also can be a bit too hard for kids. Mulch, sand and recycled rubber, they’re really the much safer alternatives that are on the market and there are different depths that you have to keep in mind that are required for different kinds of materials.

    If you want to know exactly what you need for what type of equipment and what type of material you’re going to use, check out this website; it’s CPSC.gov and that’ll give you all the regulations for safety that you need to know about. And don’t be afraid, as a parent, to go and check playground surfaces at your parks and your schools and bring any unsafe conditions to the attention of the proper officials. You want to make sure things are taken care of. And as I learn all of these things, becoming a new parent, I’m thoroughly freaked out and I’m going to get a helmet for my new child.

    TOM: (chuckling) Well, it’ll be easy to recognize your son. (Leslie laughs) 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home safety question or your home improvement question. We’re here to help you get those jobs done.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Carmen in Missouri dealt with a flood and now at least the water subsided. What happened? Tell us about it.

    CARMEN: When there was a lot of flooding in our area our partial unfinished basement completely filled with within two inches of our floor joists with water and that water covered our furnace and our hot water heater and now we’re trying to get back to normal and I was wondering if I sprayed some bleach water on the floors and the wall area down there if the bleach water would have any effect on the mechanics of the sump pump.

    TOM: I don’t see any reason that you can’t go ahead and use a bleach and water solution on the walls and floor because it certainly will kill any mold. But I am more concerned about the fact that the furnace was completely covered with water. Are you planning on replacing the furnace?

    CARMEN: We’ve replaced a lot of parts on the furnace. (chuckles)

    TOM: OK, yeah because the electronics could be absolutely affected by the flood water, so that’s a good thing.

    CARMEN: They were.

    TOM: Alright, well then I think you’re good to go, Carmen. Go ahead and use a bleach and water combination on the floor and on the walls. I’d say you probably can use about one part bleach to three parts water.

    CARMEN: OK.

    LESLIE: Any sort of fan situation that we need to put down there to keep things ventilated to dry things out from this cleaning process?

    TOM: It may not be a bad idea if you could ventilate that by opening the windows, running a fan through it so you keep some air moving while it’s all evaporating and gets nice and dry. It’ll also make it easier to work down there without your eyes starting to water from all the bleach.

    CARMEN: (chuckling) Right.

    TOM: Alright?

    CARMEN: OK, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Carmen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dave in New Jersey is looking to reclaim some space by turning a garage into a room. How can we help you with that project?

    DAVE: Well, I’ve got an attached garage – it’s a one-car garage – and I want to close it in, close the door in permanently, to keep the cold weather out and then also build a floor on top of the cement floor.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVE: And I’m wondering do I need to put some kind of plastic lining underneath to block moisture from the floor coming up.

    TOM: Well, first of all, what are you going to do about the garage door?

    DAVE: Well, it’s a Tudor-style house so the doors swing open.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVE: So I was going to put a wall there, close that in …

    TOM: Alright, here’s what I would recommend you do. First of all, if you’re going to get rid of the garage and never use this for your car again, I would physically remove the garage doors and I would close that wall the same way you would frame it in if it’s in any other part of the house.

    DAVE: Oh, great. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, more and more folks are looking for alternative heating and cooling methods and that’s Robert in Iowa who wants to talk about geothermal systems. What can we do for you?

    ROBERT: Well, I was kind of curious about the efficiency difference between central air and furnace and a geothermal water furnace. Didn’t know which one would be best to go with and which one would be more likely to pay itself off in the long run.

    TOM: So are you talking about the difference between a conventional heating and cooling system and a geothermal system?

    ROBERT: Yes.

    TOM: Well, a geothermal system is certainly an efficient system. If your choice is electricity I would certainly consider a geothermal system. My first choice, if I had the option and I had the fuel available would be to use a natural gas system and then a high-efficiency Energy Star-rated air conditioning system. Those two together will give you a very good return on investment. If you don’t have access to natural gas and you’re faced with using propane or oil, I would definitely use a geothermal system. The only downside to a geothermal system is if the coiling that goes out throughout the ground of your house were to break it becomes very expensive to replace, but they’re getting much better with that so that the issue is not as prevalent as it used to be when they first came out.

    LESLIE: As far as accessibility or the cost of the repair?

    TOM: Well, the cost of the repair. There are different ways to put it. You can put a loop straight down, for example …

    ROBERT: I see.

    TOM: … and not have to actually go throughout the entire property where’d you have to tear up driveways to fix it.

    ROBERT: Yeah, well I’m kind of in pretty rural area and propane and heating oil is about my only other option and propane keeps staggering higher and higher; seems quicker than what electricity per kilowatt does.

    TOM: Then I think geothermal is an excellent option for you.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? There’s a good website you should check out. It’s called GeoExchange.us and there’s a lot of information there about the type of different systems; how you can find local contractors who would do the work; all different kinds of applications so you can sort of sort it out for yourself as well.

    TOM: Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Valerie in Utah, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    VALERIE: I have a Craftsman-style house. It has a tongue-and-groove knotty alder ceiling and huge open beams and the ceilings are 23 feet high.

    TOM: OK.

    VALERIE: But in my bedroom, when the wind blows from the west we get a breeze.

    TOM: Do you have any idea where the wind is getting in?

    VALERIE: That’s the problem. We thought it was maybe coming in through the tongue-and-groove. My husband got up on our tall ladder and it seems as though that’s where it’s coming and there’s only about 18 inches between the ceiling and, you know, the roof.

    TOM: OK.

    VALERIE: Most of the house doesn’t have an attic.

    TOM: Let me tell you the type of test that can tell you exactly where your house is leaking. It’s called a blower door test and it’s the kind of test that an energy auditor might do; perhaps your utility company might do. Essentially what they do is they bring in a piece of equipment that is a fan that’s mounted sort of in the opening of your front door and they either pressurize or depressurize your house by blowing air in or out and in doing so they can actually determine the location of every, single crack, gap or opening of any sort in the walls or the ceiling. And then once you know where they are then you could figure out which ones you’re going to fix. You’ll be able to tell where the leaks are around the windows and the doors; if there are any leaks in the roof structure. You’ll be able to figure all that out. It’s called a blower door test. So contact an energy auditor or your local utility company and see if you can get one of those done. That’ll answer this question.

    VALERIE: OK.

    TOM: Valerie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: David in Tennessee is just having a hard time getting enough hot water in his house. What can we do for you today?

    DAVID: I was wondering – I live in a real small house and my water heater is in the closet and I was wanting to take it out and put it in a crawlspace; maybe one of those low-profile hot water heaters. And another thing too, my house only has half-inch pipe. It’s an older house. I was wondering if you could suggest anything.

    TOM: Well, what’s the problem you’re trying to deal with here, David? Is it the fact that it takes a long time for your water to get hot in the different fixtures?

    DAVID: Yes.

    TOM: Well, changing the size of your water heater is not going to fix that. Changing the location could; for example, if you had a water heater that was closer to your bathroom, then obviously the bathroom would get the water quicker than it did if it was farther away from the bathroom. And so, one of the advantages of, for example, a tankless water heater is that they’re small so you can fit them in more spaces closer to the place that you actually want to use that. But to make that change you’d have to zone the water. So in other words, if you had two of them in your house you’d have to have two separate loops of water. So I think if you’re asking how can I get the water quicker, unfortunately that requires physically moving the water heater closer to where you want to use it.

    DAVID: OK. Thank you. I love your show.

    TOM: Well thank you so much.

    LESLIE: Charlie in Texas is dealing with some residue from a sprinkler system. Tell us about it.

    CHARLIE: Yes, I’ve got some — my lawn sprinklers have been running on the side of the wall on my exterior brick; it’s a red brick home. And that white residue – the water out here is real hard and that white residue; I’m wondering the best way to take it off.

    LESLIE: So you’re seeing mineral deposits; that’s really what you’re seeing when you see that white sort of fog. The easiest thing to get rid of it is a white vinegar and water solution. If you just put some white vinegar mixed up with a little bit of water and spray it on there you’ll see it’ll go away lickety-split.

    CHARLIE: Great, I’ll give it a try.

    TOM: Alright, Charlie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, an easy fix to a shocking electrical bill. We’re going to help you save some cash, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And do you cringe every time you pull up to your house? Is your front door a disaster? Did you know that upgrading your front door can actually add thousands of dollars in value to your home? Well, if you did know that but say, ‘Hey, I can’t afford it,’ we can help you out because if you go to MyUglyDoor.com right now you can enter Therma-Tru’s Ugliest Door in America contest and if you are the fortunate winner you could win a $5,000 front door makeover; a total makeover from the folks at Therma-Tru.

    LESLIE: And here’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for the worst-looking doors in this country. They’re going to pick two of the absolutely ugliest doors out there and the winners are going to get a brand new Therma-Tru front door entry system worth 5,000 bucks. You can enter with a photo and an essay; you can be more creative and do something artsy with a video. They’re picking two winners; one from each type of entry: photo essay; video essay. So get out there, get creative and get in it to win it.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. If you’ve got another home improvement problem that’s lurking around your house, pick up the phone and call us right now. We can help.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Everybody loves their stuff and now Beverly in New York is looking for some place to store some extra items like the attic. How can we help you?

    BEVERLY: Yes, I have blown-in insulation in my attic and I want to know if I can put a floor on top of that blown-in insulation.

    TOM: Probably not, Beverly. The insulation is probably much higher than the floor joists. Am I correct?

    BEVERLY: Yes, yes. Way above.

    TOM: Yeah, you see you can’t do that because what happens is the insulation insulates by trapping air and if you compress it by sort of squishing it down by trying to put a floor on it, you’re basically going to render it ineffective and if you try to squish it too much you’ll actually push the drywall off the ceiling below.

    Probably the best thing for you to do here is do you have an attic stair that goes up into one area where you want to store …?

    BEVERLY: (overlapping voices) Yes. Yes, I have …

    TOM: Alright, so what I would do is this. I would try to push away the insulation in that immediate area, maybe make it a little thicker on the other areas of the attic, so you’re sort of carving out a small space around the opening that you could use for storage. And then use that for storage but understand that you’re not going to have as much insulation ability there as you would in other parts of the attic. But just reserve a little bit of an area around that opening for your storage, but don’t compress the insulation because if you do it’s not going to work out so well.

    LESLIE: Well because then the weight of the plywood is sitting on the joist rather than on the insulation overall.

    TOM: Correct.

    BEVERLY: Oh, fine. Oh, thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Time to talk tiles with Greg in New Jersey. What can we help you with today?

    GREG: Oh, right. I really enjoy your show. It gets me to challenge myself and do some projects – new projects around the house and …

    LESLIE: Alright, glad to help.

    GREG: Oh, great. And one such project was I tiled a couple of rooms in the house; did a kitchen, a bathroom and an area in the basement. And the area in the basement came out just fine and the other two rooms, couple of spots, when you walk on them, you hear a little bit – a little click.

    TOM: A click, huh?

    GREG: So I’m wondering if there’s, you know, any sort of quick-fix without having to pull out a whole roomful of tile.

    LESLIE: Hmm. Greg, is it in one specific area in each room? Are they relative to one another or is it the entire floor?

    GREG: Not relative to one another but it is in one specific area.

    TOM: Hmm. Well, if you have movement in a floor like that it’s got to be, most likely, the floor joist below or sometimes there’s space between the subfloor and the joist. Now, if you can’t access that from below, the problem with ceramic tile is you can’t access it from the top either. So you really don’t have any choice here except to live with it because probably what’s happening is you have a gap between the floor joist and the subfloor and the way to fix that is to either secure the subfloor and you can do that if you have any other kind of material that could be disassembled, like carpet; even hardwood or even laminate can be taken apart. Ceramic tile, you can’t really take it apart. So working on it from the top down is a problem, which means your only option is to cut it open from the bottom. Before you do that, though …

    LESLIE: I mean patching drywall is a far easier project than retiling a whole area of the floor.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly but if you’re only having a little bit of click there I probably would learn to live with it.

    GREG: OK, well one room I do have access from the basement and the other room I guess I’ll live with it. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, if you have access from the basement you want to have somebody walk on top of that tile where the noise is and watch the floor joists below and look for the area between the subfloor and the joist. If you see some movement you can take some shims – like a piece of cedar shingle or something like that – and put some glue on the end of it and then very carefully tap it into that space. Don’t go too far because you’ll push up the floor above it if you do, but just make it snug and that will tighten that up and it’s also a good way to fix squeaks in a floor.

    GREG: Thank you very much. You just solved another problem (Leslie chuckles) I didn’t’ have a chance to ask.

    TOM: Hey, it’s just about the time of the year we start paying very careful attention to our very high electric bills; you know, once you turn on the air conditioning and start to stay home; we have longer days. The costs really go up. So here’s a quick way that you could save 50 bucks on your electric bill and you can start this week. The standby power used by cable boxes, stereos and printers cost about $50 a year when they are in the off position. We’re talking about all of those different types of chargers and things that you have plugged in. They actually add up to using a lot of electricity. You sort of leak electricity from these devices even when they’re in the off position.

    To avoid it, you want to make sure that you use a centralized power strip at each location. If you unplug the device or if you simply switch off by using a centralized power strip, you will no longer have these leaks occurring. It’s called a vampire leak and basically it’s sucking the dollars right out of your wallet for every second it’s plugged in; even if it’s in the off position. So remember to turn them off and use a power strip to save that money.

    LESLIE: And what you can do with all that money that you’re saving is put it in a big jar, mark it dream house (Tom chuckles) and then start looking for your dream house. Well, if you are in the market for a new home we are going to have some house-hunting tips, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Yankee Flipper squirrel-proof birdfeeder plus a bag of Scotts deluxe birdseed from Scotts worth 175 bucks.

    LESLIE: Alright, so now you’ve won this birdfeeder and you’re like, ‘I don’t any place to hang it up.’ (Tom chuckles) Well, then you must be house-hunting and we can help you get organized. It seems like an overwhelming task because there’s a lot of things on the market; it definitely is a buyer’s market out there. So you want to start by creating a prioritized list of the features that you want in your next home and the reasons why and then you can use it as your search guide but remember that, depending on your funds, you probably are going to need to make some compromises. You know, if you’ve got million-dollar tastes but only a $300,000 budget you’ve got to find some way to make it work. So talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live because location is the hugest part of the equation.

    TOM: Location, location and location are all three important things to know. A good website to go to for more information is Century21.com and we thank them for providing us this tip.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Valerie in Utah, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    VALERIE: I have a Craftsman-style house. It has a tongue-and-groove knotty alder ceiling and huge open beams and the ceilings are 23 feet high.

    TOM: OK.

    VALERIE: But in my bedroom, when the wind blows from the west we get a breeze.

    TOM: Do you have any idea where the wind is getting in?

    VALERIE: That’s the problem. We thought it was maybe coming in through the tongue-and-groove. My husband got up on our tall ladder and it seems as though that’s where it’s coming and there’s only about 18 inches between the ceiling and, you know, the roof.

    TOM: OK.

    VALERIE: Most of the house doesn’t have an attic.

    TOM: Let me tell you the type of test that can tell you exactly where your house is leaking. It’s called a blower door test and it’s the kind of test that an energy auditor might do; perhaps your utility company might do. Essentially what they do is they bring in a piece of equipment that is a fan that’s mounted sort of in the opening of your front door and they either pressurize or depressurize your house by blowing air in or out and in doing so they can actually determine the location of every, single crack, gap or opening of any sort in the walls or the ceiling. And then once you know where they are then you could figure out which ones you’re going to fix. You’ll be able to tell where the leaks are around the windows and the doors; if there are any leaks in the roof structure. You’ll be able to figure all that out. It’s called a blower door test. So contact an energy auditor or your local utility company and see if you can get one of those done. That’ll answer this question.

    VALERIE: OK.

    TOM: Valerie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Lori in Wyoming, welcome to The Money Pit.

    LORI: We’re building a new home out in the country and I’m wondering if well water is suitable for an on-demand water heater.

    TOM: Yes, I don’t see why not.

    LORI: Well, I wasn’t sure whether the sediment and the possible – you know, it’s pretty hard water. I was wondering if that was going to …

    TOM: You might need a filter system, but it’s a great, great technology because it gives you an unlimited supply of hot water. So I think it’s a great option for you ..

    LORI: Well, I appreciate that.

    TOM: … and there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t use it on well water.

    LORI: Alright. Is there any special maintenance, then, that you’d suggest that we do with it?

    TOM: No, there’s typical maintenance associated with it like there would be with any water heater. I’ll tell you a good website to check out; that’s SmarterHotWater.com. That’s the website for one of our sponsors which is Rheem and they make one of the best tankless water heaters out there and on that website you’ll find a lot of the technical information to see if they recommend any filters or special installation for well water. But to the best of my knowledge there’s absolutely nothing different about that and city water in terms of the installation.

    LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and while some of you have attics that really are just for storage and you don’t go up there that often, you do want to check it out because if you’re dealing with a stuffy situation up there, it could actually lead to a moldy house. We’re going to tell you more about proper ventilation, so stick around.

    (theme song)

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    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number. MoneyPit.com is the website. While you’re there click on the button for the Ugliest Door in America contest because our friends at Therma-Tru may be looking to hand over a $5,000 front door makeover to you if you’re the winner of that contest. All you need to do is to submit a couple of photos of your doors and a short essay or you could send in a 60-second video and if they choose your door as one of the ugliest in America they’ll send a team out to put in a brand, spanking new Therma-Tru door worth up to 5,000 bucks.

    LESLIE: And while you’re surfing the web, go on to the MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail. We’ve got one standing by here from Donna in Matthews, North Carolina who writes: ‘I have a ridge roof but the ventilation seems inadequate. I’ve been told that I need to remove mold from the existing timbers and add an attic fan. What is the best way to, I guess, attack the situation and increase ventilation?’

    TOM: Actually, an attic fan is exactly the wrong thing to do because an attic fan is only going to increase the attic ventilation in the summertime when you have a problem with humidity and condensation in the attic, which is what causes the wood to get wet and allows the mold and the decay to grow. That happens in the wintertime and in the spring and in the fall. So, the best way to do that is with a continuous ridge and soffit vent and while you say you have a ridge vent, I want to make sure that it’s the right kind of ridge vent. Some ridge vents are not open enough and don’t let enough air out. I want to make sure that you have one that is fairly open; usually about an inch of space on either side is what does the trick. And then secondly, make sure you have a continuous soffit vent system. You want that soffit to be perforated all the way along the house and make sure, if you have attic insulation that’s going towards that outside wall of your house, that it’s not blocking the soffit vents; a common problem. If you have good soffit and ridge vents you will not have a condensation problem and you will not have a mold problem.

    LESLIE: Should she also be looking into any sort of venting that’s depositing up there; like a bath vent?

    TOM: That’s a good idea, too. If you have any exhaust fans from the bath or from the kitchen, those should be vented completely out.

    LESLIE: Alright, good luck with that, Donna.

    TOM: Well, if you’re thinking about fixing up your kitchen, you know a tiled backsplash can really bring some interest to a boring space and you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to get that job done. Leslie’s got the lowdown on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and you know this is a trick that we did in our own kitchen makeover. We didn’t spend a ton of money but we made some smart decisions that really made this tile backsplash standout and be spectacular. So if you find you’re on a low budget but high on design taste – you like expensive things and you want to choose something really high-quality – here’s what you do. Go and choose a simple and inexpensive tile to cover the main field portion of your kitchen’s backsplash or even if you’re doing a bathroom, a full bathroom wall. Because you’re going to spend, you know, a good, substantial amount of money on getting all this tile so choose something that doesn’t cost that much and has a quite simple look to it. Then what you can do is you can mix in few beautiful, decorative tiles that are rich in color or perhaps a different sheen or have a different finis to create some visual interest to the wall; or even choose something that’s very simple but put it on a diamond pattern so it gives it a little bit more of an expensive look on the install process but you’re still dealing with a less expensive tile choice. Since you’re going to be using this decorative detail in small quantities, any of these beautiful tiles that you might add in here and there, you can really splurge for something that’s beautiful, special and it’s really going to stand out. Take some time, go out in the market and do your research and choose something that suits your wallet.

    TOM: Great advice.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to take a look at some home improvement scams. You know, if you have a soft economy and you add in some warm weather you can get a recipe for ripoffs, so on the next show we’ll tell you about some of the most common home improvement scams and how to avoid getting taken.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    END HOUR 2 TEXT

    (Copyright 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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